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Thyroid and
Weight Loss

How thyroid treatment can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Thyroid hormone replacement and weight loss

Your thyroid plays a vital role in regulating your metabolic rate, controlling functions in your heart, muscles, and digestive system, along with bone maintenance and the development of your brain. It is known as the metabolism regulator and, along with testosterone, has a pivotal role in maintaining healthy body weight.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits under the larynx in your neck. It secretes hormones into your bloodstream and performs many functions essential to your health. If your thyroid is not performing to its best or the hormones it secretes show low activity, symptoms become apparent.

The symptoms of low thyroid can include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Low libido
  3. Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  4. High cholesterol and weight gain
  5. Dry skin
  6. Concentration and memory problems
  7. Low blood pressure
  8. Increased, decreased, or irregular heartbeat
  9. Feeling cold
  10. Constipation

It is essential to recognize that some symptoms of low thyroid and low testosterone overlap. Diagnosis via symptoms and blood tests are necessary to determine the cause.

Wondering if you may be suffering from low thyroid levels? Take our free assessment to see if you could benefit from Hormone Replacement Therapy!

Low thyroid and low testosterone can cause weight gain

There is a clear relationship between low thyroid and low testosterone levels. If both hormones are at reduced levels, you will develop weight faster, and it will be harder to lose than for people whose hormones are balanced.

There is a chain reaction of events that start in the thyroid and influence testosterone production in your testicles.

  1. The thyroid stimulates the hypothalamus to produce GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone)
  2. GnRH triggers LH (luteinizing hormone) production in the pituitary gland.
  3. LH then travels to your testicles, telling the Leydig cells to produce testosterone.

If the thyroid is not producing hormones efficiently (hypothyroidism), then the signals sent to the testicles are weak or non-existent. Therefore, testosterone production will be insufficient. So, you end up with low testosterone levels, and the symptoms such as weight gain start to occur.

The thyroid controls your metabolism

If the thyroid isn’t functioning effectively, the conversion of what you consume into energy slows. Active thyroid hormone (T3) works throughout your body, telling cells how much energy to use and where to distribute it. If this relationship breaks down, excess calories, not used as energy, become fat stored elsewhere in the body. So, thyroid hormones have an essential metabolic effect, increasing metabolism, producing energy, and stimulating weight loss.

TSH, T4, and T3 are the crucial hormones that show how active your thyroid is.

TSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone (produced in the pituitary gland), triggers your thyroid to produce T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These hormones are different versions of the ‘same’ thing altered by the number of iodine molecules attached to each.

Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine binds to thyroid hormones acting as a shield, protecting them from breaking down in the body. Thyroid hormones have four receptors that bind with iodine. On T4, iodine binds to four of these receptors; on T3, only three binds to iodine. 

T4 is more ‘heavily’ shielded by iodine, therefore, it lasts longer in the body; however, it is less active and has minimal effect on the body. T3 is only shielded by iodine on 3 ‘sides,’ and can bind to other cells signaling physiological changes. The only problem is that it is short-lived in circulation because it is less protected.

Test your real thyroid levels with our at-home lab kit.

Is low thyroid to blame for weight gain?

A blood test measuring your hormone levels is the only accurate way to determine whether there’s a problem with your thyroid. The majority of doctors only test for primary hypothyroidism (low thyroid), which only shows if the thyroid functions correctly. However, there are three main reasons why the thyroid may exhibit loss of function. This lack of a proper diagnosis can leave many patients unaware that their thyroid is causing any problems. Correctly identifying low thyroid requires tests and a licensed medical provider who knows what symptoms to look for.

There are three main reasons why the thyroid underperforms:
  1. Inadequate production: Standard practice is to check your thyroid using a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. TSH increases as thyroid levels go down and vice-versa, so a high TSH reading indicates low thyroid. Doctors using this test assume, therefore, by reading levels of a hormone that stimulates thyroid production, they can gain an insight into actual hormone levels. Unfortunately, many doctors stop here and take things no further. Only about 20 percent of cases of low thyroid are detected this way.
  2. Non-Conversion: The second way doctors can check low thyroid is called non-conversion. Ordinarily, an enzyme called 5′-deiodinase removes an iodine link from T4, converting it into the more useable T3. As people get older, they tend to produce less 5′-deiodinase, so they cannot convert T4 to active T3, leaving them lacking this vital hormone. About 30% of people with low thyroid suffer from non-conversion.
  3. Thyroid Resistance: The rest of the people with low thyroid activity (the other 50%) have thyroid resistance, which means the receptors that bind with T3 are short in numbers or are structurally inadequate. So, their T3 hormones either connect to receptors incorrectly or not at all. There are a few reasons this can happen, such as high insulin or cortisol levels. Interestingly, these people often show normal TSH, T4, and T3 levels yet still have low thyroid symptoms, so doctors often miss this.

Balanced thyroid hormones are necessary for weight loss, being one of the essential hormones associated with metabolism. Studies show it attacks visceral fat, which is the fat around your organs. Many people don’t understand that doctors give you medication to deal with the numbers, the results of blood tests (cholesterol, glucose, hormone levels, etc.). If you still gain more and more weight, fat that is the problem. If you don’t lose the fat, these numbers don’t mean anything. They are just surrogate markers.

How does the thyroid affect testosterone?

Studies show (1) that thyroid function and testosterone are directly linked. When your thyroid isn’t performing effectively (hypothyroidism), it can indirectly lower free testosterone levels. Poor thyroid performance can also reduce sex hormone-binding globulin levels (SHBG), an essential protein that carries testosterone around the body. So, low thyroid has a ‘double whammy’ effect on testosterone by lowering free testosterone and reducing your body’s ability to transport it around your system via SHBG.

Decreased testosterone levels in men with low thyroid are often accompanied by increased abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, and increased blood glucose levels, often leading to type 2 diabetes.

At Male Excel, we look at both thyroid and testosterone levels. Only by balancing both can their true potential as a weight-loss treatment be realized. Primary care doctors will rarely investigate your thyroid health as thoroughly as Male Excel’s specialists. By looking at test results and symptoms in tandem, our US-licensed medical providers can assess your balance and optimize your hormones for a long and healthy future.

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Studies and References:

The Impact of Testosterone on Metformin Action on Hypothalamic‐Pituitary‐Thyroid Axis Activity in Men: A Pilot Study, Robert Krysiak MD, Ph.D. Witold Szkróbka MD Bogusław Okopień MD, Ph.D. First published: 06 August 2019 https://doi.org/10.1002/jcph.1507 Krytskyy T, Pasyechko N, Yarema N, Naumova L, Mazur L. INFLUENCE OF AGE-RELATED ANDROGEN DEFICIENCY ON THE RISK FACTORS ЕOF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES IN MEN WITH HYPOTHYROIDISM. Georgian Med News. 2020 Jan;(298):105-109. PMID: 32141860. Ford HC, Cooke RR, Keightley EA, Feek CM. Serum levels of free and bound testosterone in hyperthyroidism. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1992 Feb;36(2):187-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.1992.tb00956.x. PMID: 1568351.